No charges in Grabovski brawl

By IAN ROBERTSON, QMI Agency


Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski was held and released by Vancouver police on Saturday after a suspected drunken brawl. (QMI Agency file photo)

TORONTO - Leafs centre Mikhail Grabovski’s arrest after a street fight in Vancouver marks the latest offside in a sometimes controversial career.

Sidelined for six weeks since Jan. 2 with a fractured wrist, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound centre was arrested and jailed early Saturday in downtown Vancouver during a reported drunken brawl.

Grabovski, 26, was released almost seven hours later.

Const. Lindsey Houghton, a spokesman for the Vancouver police force, said Sunday she could not confirm any identities.

“That incident remains under investigation,” she said in an email to QMI Agency, adding “there have been no criminal charges laid.”

Police ordered liquor stores shut early Saturday evening and reported no repeat of Friday night’s boozy fights and bottle breaking after revelers flooded the entertainment district.

Grabovski reportedly joined a small group of Belarusian fans after their team lost to Sweden during the 2010 Olympics.

He was to join his country’s team during the Games, but could not play due to his injury.

After being released to his parents, his countrymen won 5-3 over Germany in their first Olympic hockey victory since Belarus thwarted the favourite gold-medal Swedes in 2002.

Born in Potsdam, Germany, while his dad was doing construction work, Grabovski starting playing professionally at age 19 with Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, a Russian Superleague team based in the Republic of Tatarstan.

After a subsequent season with the Moscow Dynamo, the Montreal Canadiens drafted him in 2004.

From lackluster play in his early days with the Hamilton Bulldogs, an American Hockey League affiliate, the fast-moving, left-handed shooter scored key points in several NHL games back with the Habs. He was returned to Hamilton.

Frustrated when not included in the Montreal team’s lineup, Grabovski initiated trade talks four months before switching to Toronto blue-and-white on July 3, 2008, with a three-year contract worth $9 million.

He was suspended the following January for three games after shoving an official during an altercation at a Leafs-Canadiens game with rival Sergei Kostitsyn, a fellow Belarusian.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke, also GM of the U.S. Olympic team, issued a brief statement late Saturday, saying the Toronto club “is aware of reports that forward Mikhail Grabovski was involved in a minor altercation.

“Since we are presently investigating this matter, the team will not provide any further comment at this time,” the statement said.

The NHL has also been advised of the investigation.

ian.robertson@sunmedia.ca

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